I know the Oscars only ended like um, not even two weeks ago. And I know it’s absolute insanity to begin talking about next year’s Best Actress race, but what can I say? I’m certifiable.
Now, you can’t always foresee an Ellen Page or a Marion Cotillard nomination. The best you can do is predict your picks based on pedigree. And the following actresses seem to have the right genetic makeup to make them contenders for a nomination in 2009.
Nicole Kidman, Australia
I’m really not much of a Baz Luhrmann fan, but I recognize other people are and this film’s epic feel at the very least makes it a movie that will be on everyone’s Oscar radar. If it doesn’t end up as one of next year’s most talked about films, it will already be considered a disappointment. Now add the fact that Nicole Kidman’s last collaboration with Luhrmann (2001’s Moulin Rouge) resulted in an Oscar nom and you have to like the gal’s chances even more.
Kidman can be a very good actress, especially when she’s playing colder characters. I’m not sure if she’s playing it cold or warm here, but there’s also something to be said about her returning to her Aussie roots, not to mention sharing the screen with the criminally underrated Hugh Jackman.
Kate Winslet, Revolutionary Road and/or The Reader
I’m kind of having it both ways here. Kate Winslet is always someone to take seriously when discussing the little gold bald guy and she has two seemingly Oscar-worthy movies on the horizon that are equally strong contenders. Maybe Revolutionary Road has the edge because her hubby director Sam Mendes seems to only make great movies and she’s reuniting with her Titanic love, Leonardo DiCaprio. But I read The Reader ages ago and the material is certainly the hard-hitting stuff the Academy eats up. Of all the ladies on this list, a Winslet nomination is the one I feel most confident about. Just don’t ask me for which movie.
Angelina Jolie, The Changeling
I know they nominated Jolie (and she won) for Girl Interrupted but I think the Academy doesn’t take her half as seriously as an actress as they used to. She’s perceived as tabloid fodder or a humanitarian before the talented actress that she is. Of course, she never did help herself with those Lara Croft movies. Still, her SAG nomination for A Mighty Heart certainly was a good sign. Now she’s working with the Oscar-friendly Clint Eastwood in a period piece about a mother whose child is kidnapped.
Meryl Streep, Doubt
John Patrick Shanley is back and better than ever! Er, I know what you may be thinking. Who the hell is John Patrick Shanley? Well, he’s the guy who won an Oscar for his Moonstruck script and then wrote and directed the Tom Hanks mega-bomb Joe Versus the Volcano.
Personally, I’m a huge Joe Versus the Volcano fan so the fact that this is the first time he’s getting behind the camera since that misunderstood 1990 disaster has me excited. Now, this will be the film version of Shanley’s 2005 Pulitzer Prize-winning play. Hmm. Things are getting interesting. You throw in the fact that Philip Seymour Hoffman, Meryl Streep and Amy Adams star and I have to believe the tide may be turning for ol’ JPS.
Oh yeah, this is about Streep getting a nomination. Well, you put Streep in a quality project and you’re basically begging for a nomination, right? She plays a nun who suspects a priest (Hoffman) of abusing a child. Now that’s fun with a capital F! Anyway, Streep gets to play chilly and she gets to have a nice final confrontation scene. We’re locked and loaded here.
Cate Blanchett, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
I was torn between giving it to Cate or Keira Knightley (in yet another period piece, The Duchess) but in the end, Cate is the more reliable actress and she’s in the more interesting movie. Benjamin Button has Brad Pitt aging backwards amidst a love story with the great Cate. It’s directed by a first-rate talent in the form of David Fincher. The Duchess is about costumes and dukes and British accents and whatnot and is directed by a dude named Saul Dibb. Who you putting your money on?
Note: If you’re smart, you’ll bet against me and take the field.